Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hour of Code!

We are getting really excited at Weaver Lake about the upcoming Hour of Code as a part of Computer Science Education Week during December 8-14th!  Every student at Weaver Lake in all grade levels will have an opportunity to code.

When we participated last year, the Hour of Code provided a great way to expose lots of students to coding in a focused and engaging way.  It generated a lot of excitement around coding, both from students and teachers, and it led to the implementation of regular coding opportunities for students during the school day. 

Want to find out more?  I've put together some basic information about the Hour of Code, the reasoning behind it, and some ways you can get involved!

What is the Hour of Code?

Here's some information straight from the Hour of Code website:
"The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. Check out the tutorials. "
"The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 30 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104." 

The tutorials and activities are also available before and after Computer Science Education Week, so you can check them out early or go back to them at any time.  

As I was writing this post, I just got an email that this year's tutorials are now available in beta, and will feature Disney's Frozen characters Anna and Elsa - very exciting!  Rest assured, there are also tutorials and activities that appeal to older students :)

Why participate?

The Hour of Code is a great entry point into coding.  It provides self-directed, focused, and engaging coding activities (for free!) that are accessible for all learners, from pre-literate to literate, coding beginner to coding expert, young to old, techie to non-techie.  Since the Hour of Code is self-directed, this also means that the teacher does not need to be a coding fact, it's totally OK if you've never done any coding before!  You can try it out with your students, and authentically model critical thinking, problem solving, and perseverance as you go!

Computer science and coding are important because they build and develop cross-curricular skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, perseverance, and collaboration. 

These skills will help prepare our students for their future careers, no matter what career they pursue.

Check out this awesome infographic created by Kodable that shares 5 reasons to teach your students to code:

How do I participate?

The best way to get started is to just get started!  Here's the link to the tutorials and activities - you can jump in and start coding right away!  No experience necessary!   You can use a tablet or computer, or go totally analog and try out some of the fun and interactive unplugged activities. 

As an option, individuals can sign up for a account so that you can save your progress and make progress toward coding goals (there's an option for single sign-on with Google accounts, which is a nice option for schools with Google Apps for Education).  Teachers can also create classes to and can track students' progress from a teacher dashboard.  

Teachers, here is a link with step-by-step details on how to host an hour of code in your classroom.

Interested in getting your whole school signed up to participate, or want to support the Hour of Code in other ways?  Check out the info on the Hour of Code website.

Here are some additional resources for educators provided by

Interested in connecting during Computer Science Education Week?  Or, to share ideas before the Hour of Code?

Let me know!   Twitter: @wilsandrea

I'm also interested in connecting some classes via Google Hangout to give kids a chance to share about fun coding discoveries or to crowd source questions.  

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